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Satisfying customers in a digital world with Kaitlin Pettersen

conversational support with intercom



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The fourteenth release of Support Heroes by Kaizo featured Kaitlin Pettersen- Senior Director of Customer Support at Intercom.

In this episode, Kaitlin elaborates on how the pandemic shifted customer interactions to the digital space, and how this has impacted support. She presents Intercom’s thesis of conversational support being the way forward and offers some insights on how this can be successfully implemented.

Key Highlights

1. Excelling in support is vital during the pandemic

2. Conversational support is Intercom’s answer

3. Proactive and self-service support ensures conversations are had when it matters

Excelling in support is vital during the pandemic  

“Simply allowing [customers] to purchase items on your website and leave isn’t going to do the trick”

Business has become digital due to the pandemic; which means that companies are competing based on digital relationships with customers forged through distributed experiences. 

“How do you build relationships with your customers during a pandemic when you can’t see them face to face?”

The front runner here is support because issues are going to be inevitable due to our current circumstances. Companies are still adapting. 

Customer loyalty will be based on how those issues are resolved and the solutions communicated. Support is responsible for that. According to research done by Intercom…

“73% of support leaders say that customer expectations are rising…but only 42% of that 73 feel they are meeting those expectations” 

Which means there is ground to be gained by excelling where others are failing. 

“To survive or thrive, you can’t settle for good enough…providing a great customer experience isn’t an option it’s essential”

Conversational support is Intercom’s answer 

“Relationship building is incredibly important. It costs a lot of money to acquire a customer, so you definitely want to hang onto them…”

“…recognising that [customers] are online, that you need to build for that online experience, that [customer] expectations are high and you need to meet those expectations is key”

One might then ask- how? Kaitlin and Intercom’s answer is conversations. 

“Conversational support makes it possible for businesses to connect with their customers in a personal way and relationship build at a rapid scale.”

And this isn’t just a sales pitch. Intercom uses their own tool at scale as a proof of concept that conversations work. 

“It’s on us to be that example of ‘it’s possible’- that you can balance efficient support, scale it and also do it in a personal way that enables the building of those relationships”

“We think conversational is personal”

Proactive and self-service support ensures conversations are had when it matters

“The funnel is simple but powerful. It combines proactive, self-serve and human support capabilities” 

Human support is the star of the show here. Especially the conversational model. Having agents focus on what they do best lets them shine. 

“Proactive support is a huge step-change for customer support and a necessary shift.”

“…people prefer to not have to send an email, fill out a form or open the messenger. They want to get their questions answered quickly and they want to move on with their day.” 

Kaitlin wants her agents to use their skills, knowledge and empathy where it matters rather than just answer repetitive questions.

“If you can offer the right support at the right time with the right content in the right place that is a beautiful thing.”

That’s the proactive side. Then to self-service…

“The repetitive, pretty objective, simple questions can be answered automatically with chatbots or you can use a knowledge base” 

The game, as Kaitlin puts it is: 

“How can you filter out the [repeatative] work, leaving the complex work that requires a bit of empathy to the smart, brilliant people you hired to talk to your customers.”

If you enjoyed this, check out the rest of our episodes with support heroes from N26, Github, trivago, Miro & more. Now available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, GoogleAmazon.

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